Well with all this winter weather and and cold going on I felt that we needed a nice warm dinner… Something a little saucy… a little cheesy… add some spice and the crusty crunch of garlic bread… Yep you guessed it… Lasagna!! That is the winner, and that is what I made. So lets get to the cooking!! This is just something I threw together with inspiration on how to go about it from my friend Brenda I just “winged it” I had never made lasagna before but I took notes along the way so I could tell you what did !
- white onion
- 3 stalks celery
- 2 cups carrots
- 4 garlic cloves
- 2 handfuls fresh Italian parsley
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 3 to 4 tablespoons oregano
- 1 to 2 tablespoons basil (I would use fresh if you have it)
- 3 cans petite diced tomatoes (14.5 oz per can)
- 12 lasagna noodles (more or less depending on how big your dish is)
- 1 package HOT Italian sausage
- 1 package MILD Italian sausage
- olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- 4 cups Italian cheeses of your choice or pre-packaged
- fresh Parmesan cheese for garnish
To start you need to brown the meat. I used 3 sausages from the HOT package and 3 from the MILD package. I then put the rest in a freezer safe bag to use for another night. You could definitely use both packages and you will just have a little more meat but that would not be a bad thing because it is so yummy! If you have never cooked with Italian sausage before then the following pictures will help. You need to remove the sausage from the casing and then place it in the pan to crumble up and brown.
I just make a cut down the middle… pull the casing at the sides to loosen it a bit then just pull it off and toss it in the trash! And tada! You are done! I then put then in a frying pan to brown and break it up with a spatula.
Once your meat is browned on both sides strain i and place it in a container and set i aside for later. While the meat was browning I started making my marinara sauce. This is the fun part. I just started creating and you can really make this your own add in anything you like and experiment with the different flavors! Or you can just make mine and tell me how amazing it was!
I started by putting a few pan turns of olive oil in the pan and let it heat. I then sliced up my onion. Want to know a quick way to chop your onion?
So here it is you cut the ends off and cut it in half. Place it on the cutting board and make horizontal cuts in it. The thinner you make them the finer the chop so put more space between them if you want bigger chunks of onion. Just don’t cut through the entire onion that way it is easier to handle when you chop it vertical. After you have done that make your vertical chops. Closer together will give you a finer chop. Tada!
Look at that. They are chopped before you even have time to cry! While the onions were cooking I minced up the four garlic cloves and put them in pan with the onions to cook.
I had these carrots on hand for my salad that I had the other night. So I just measured out 2 cups and tossed them in!
Sorry this is not a better parsley measurement but it looked about right… then after I took the picture I decided to double it. So two handfuls but this is a picture of only one…
After all his is blended I put it in pan with the onions and the garlic to let it saute while I got the noodles started in some boiling water.
Once I got the noodles started I added the wine to the vegetables while they were cooking and let that reduce.
Then I pureed the tomatoes with their juice and poured them in to let the marinara come together and simmer. I always use Hunts tomatoes! I love them but you can use any type you want! Yes that is my new stemless wine glass in the background. I love it! I find it very impossible to cook with wine and not have a glass at the same time. I honestly think it is against the laws of cooking but you know… that is just me!
This is when I added the oregano and basil. I had to use dry basil as there has been no fresh in my area for 3 weeks. What gives? Who stole the basil? You also need to taste it and salt and pepper to taste. I kept that on medium heat and continued to let it simmer until I was ready to use it. Just be sure to stir it here and there.
Once your pasta is al dente remove it from the water and set i to the side.
While the noodles cool (you just want to be able to handle them without being burned but you don’t want them to be cold) get your sausage you browned and give it a nice chop. I did this to get consistency with the chunks of meat and to allow it to go further without having that random huge hunk of meat… because the perfect bite has a little bit of everything in it not just one ingredient!
And now we are ready to assemble our lasagna! Pre heat your oven to 350. Get out your baking dish of choice and layer! Start with the sauce then sprinkle in some meat…
I used both these bags and they are two cups each. Who knew… So creamy and melty and good! Gotta love Philadelphia for this invention! Ok so sprinkle on the cheese.
After that I grated a little fresh parmesan cheese. Then make a layer of noodles and repeat. I only got two layers but that was plenty for me! After the noodles do sauce meat and cheese then noodles… then sauce meat and cheese again!
That is the second noodle layer so now for the top….
Now stick it in the oven for about 30 minutes. You want the cheese on top to be slightly browned and melted. You just want to make everything fuse together and get all warm and melty!
Look at those little curls of Parmesan cheese… YUM! Now your only task is to plate and serve!! I served mine with a slice of garlic bread! YUM!
I grated a little more fresh parm ontop… because you can never have too much cheese!
YUM! This is so great because you can add anything you want like squash or spinach and you can use any cheese you like and if you need it to be faster you can just use your favorite marinara in a jar instead of making your own! This is so delicious and even better then next day! You just can’t go wrong with lasagna for dinner! GO MAKE IT ALREADY!!
I am linking this up with Savannah’s Savory Bites!